Illinois taxpayers soon could pay $1.8 million a year or more for the abortion deaths of unborn babies after Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a radical pro-abortion bill into law last week.
The new law will keep abortion on demand up to birth legal and establish the Land of Lincoln as a “safe haven” for women seeking abortions. House Bill 40 also will force taxpayers to pay for abortions.
The Illinois Department of Healthcare & Family Services estimates that taxpayers will pay about $1.8 million a year for abortions beginning in January, the Galesburg Register-Mail reports.
The department did not indicate how many unborn babies’ lives this would mean, but, with the average cost of an abortion being about $451, $1.8 million would pay for almost 4,000 abortions per year.
That estimate could be low. The Illinois Office of Management and Budget has not completed an assessment of the cost to taxpayers yet, according to the report.
Pro-life advocates put the estimate at closer to 12,000 abortions per year, funded by taxpayer dollars.
Emily Troscinski, executive director of Illinois Right To Life, said Illinois once funded unrestricted abortions through Medicaid in the late 1970s, and taxpayers paid about $1.8 million for about 12,738 unborn babies’ abortion deaths at the time.
Illinois RTL reported on its blog:
By signing this bill, it is projected that 12,000 or more additional babies will be aborted every year. This is based on data from the last period during which there was unrestricted Medicaid funding of abortions in Illinois. That will add to the 39,856 abortions per year already performed in Illinois.
There is no cap on the number of abortions that could be covered under Medicaid and no cap on the amount of taxpayer dollars spent on these procedures. Based on figures from the last time Illinoisans financed unrestricted Medicaid funded abortions, at the current rate, state government spending could range anywhere from $1.8 million to $21 million.
The legislation is widely unpopular, including among voters who identify as pro-choice.
In October 2016, a Politico/Harvard University poll found that just 36 percent of likely voters supported taxpayer funding for abortions, while 58 percent opposed it. These findings are consistent with previous polls from various groups.
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In Illinois specifically, people also are concerned about spending more money when the state already cannot pay its bills.
According to the local news:
State Rep. Dan Swanson, R-Alpha, and Jil Tracy, R-Quincy, said they identify as pro-life personally and also object to using taxpayer funds to support abortions. Rep. Norine Hammond, R-Macomb, also believed it was “unconscionable” that the state could pass the spending measure when it can’t pay its other bills.
Tracy said she heard from constituents who opposed the law because they had been waiting for other things to be paid by the state first.
“It’s just disheartening that the money that could go to pay off some debt, or to fund some things that we’ve cut that are vital services, that’s what I don’t like at all,” Tracy said. “We’ve been for not expanding anything to try to rein back and fund our priorities — what we haven’t been able to fund.”
Last week, state Sen. Sue Rezin also sharply criticized the governor for forcing taxpayers to pay for abortions when Illinois is facing a financial crisis.
“Not only can taxpayers not afford this, but polls show that the majority of people in our country don’t want their tax dollars funding abortion,” Rezin said. “As a mother of four, I am pro-life will continue to stand up for the unborn and taxpayers.”
Rauner, a pro-abortion Republican, went back on his promise when he signed the bill. He previously said he would veto the measure because taxpayer funding for abortion is too “divisive.”
According to the Pro-Life Action League, the bill also would keep abortion legal in the event that Roe v. Wade is overturned.
Furthermore, the Illinois State Assembly synopsis of the bill says the bill would remove “language [from state law and policy] … that the unborn child is a human being from the time of conception and is, therefore, a legal person for purposes of the unborn child’s right to life.”